What to do tonight: 1980s high school band keeps the beats going at Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall

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Back in the day, when Silent Partner was performing at a local club, the band members would be working the phones and posting fliers on telephone poles in hopes of bringing in a crowd.

Now, people learn about them via the Internet (and the occasional article in The Pittsburgh Press).

Getting a good crowd, however, shouldn't be a problem as the local guys take the stage tonight at the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall in Munhall. They're the opening act for the famous Kenny Loggins.

Guitarist Lou Pietosi, a graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, admitted to some goosebumps.

"It isn't the size of the crowd," he said. "It's the venue. This beautiful theater."

The members of Silent Partner -- Mr. Pietosi, his brother Al (guitar), brothers Jake (guitar) and Mark Zucco (keyboards), and Randy Van Hulten (bass) -- have seen just about every club space you can imagine since they formed the band as high school students back in the 1980s.

"We traveled all around the Tri-state area," Mr. Pietosi said. "We played in empty bars and full bars and made no money.

"We went through our ups and downs through the years. You know, with two sets of brothers, you can imagine. But we always played music we liked. I looked through some old calendars and we were playing three nights a week for a couple years.

"We stayed in touch and played in other bands. We got back together in 2008 for our 30th high school reunion. This time around, with everybody settled down now, we decided to play a couple of nights a month."

The dream remains the same: Making music.

"We're all music nuts. We're still writing our own music," Mr. Pietosi said. "We're more realistic now. But who wouldn't want a hit record?"

"Everybody wants to be a rock star," said Mark Zucco. "Me and my brother, Jake, we've always been in bands and we've done a lot of writing. But we never did much studio recording or much to promote ourselves or be on the radio. We've got a ton of basement tapes that we're now posting on the Internet.

"Still, I think, back in the '80s, gigs were easier. We were playing every weekend, and clubs would book you two nights a week sometimes. That's changed."

But getting the word out is easier. Mr. Pietosi said the group has hundreds of followers on Facebook and the guys expect to see familiar faces in tonight's crowd.

"What's really neat is that we have friends from years ago coming to see us," he said. "And you have to draw a good crowd if you're going to be an opening act."

Such was the case in August when Silent Partner opened for Kansas.

"We loved Kansas. We had a blast," Mr. Pietosi said. "It's hard to believe. I told [promoter] Brian Drusky, 'I've been waiting 26 years for this. Where've you been?'

"During that show, we played three covers and four originals, and we got great response. We finished with 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' and we got a standing ovation. I don't ever remember an opening band getting a standing ovation. We just looked at each other on the stage and wondered 'Who are they standing up for?'"

They're hoping to spark the same reaction tonight.

The music hall is at 510 10th Ave., and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $65.

music - neigh_east

If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/


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